― Margaret Cho
Samantha Brick doesn't need more attention from me or anyone else. I wasn't going to write about her; I think she's a sad woman with a distorted view of herself and her world. I feel sorry for her, not because of the outpouring of negativity in response to her article, but because she is so detached from the world where the rest of us live.
She's so wrongity-wrong-wrong about being hated, about being beautiful and in her decision to write such a bizarre piece. Her editor also has responsibility there, yet I suspect the decision to publish was a commercial one.
Despite her intentions, Ms Brick hasn't revealed a common but usually overlooked flaw in the female psyche. All she's done is revealed her own warped perspective, and her insecurities.
Ms Brick's entire theory is based on two assumptions: relative beauty, which is neither constant nor objective, and women being capable of mass, frivolous hatred.
It's naive to make the assumptions she makes in her article. The Sisterhood of Women isn't a bowl of rice, where each grain is basically the same as the rest, and shares their ultimate goal, which is to join its friends to form the bowl of rice. We don't all think the same, or want the same, or believe the same or react the same as other women. In fact, when thinking about body image, the variables are everywhere.
The Social Issues Research Centre lists a few:
What people see and how they react to their reflection in a mirror will vary according to: species, sex, age, ethnic group, sexual orientation, mood, eating disorders, what they've been watching on TV, what magazines they read, whether they're married or single, what kind of childhood they had, whether they take part in sports, what phase of the menstrual cycle they're in, whether they are pregnant, where they've been shopping – and even what they had for lunch.
We have fat days, good days, bad hair days, pale and pimply days. We have confident days, flirty days, days - weeks - of insecurity, periods of self-loathing, new-clothes days, new-hair days, days when we wear the wrong bra, and those glorious over-sized T-Shirts and trackie-daks days. I've even had days - well, one day - when I wore shoes that didn't match each other. In terms of body image, a sense of the ridiculous is helpful.
Ms Brick's theory is predicated on the assumption her friends and colleagues consider her to be significantly more attractive than they are. Of course, I don't know those friends and colleagues, but as a premise, it's hard to accept. We've all seen plenty of photos of Ms Brick, and she seems to be of average attractiveness. Beautiful? Maybe. Uncommonly beautiful? No. Remarkably beautiful? Only in Ms Brick's mind.
The likelihood of her being so much more beautiful than other women in her life is remote, unless she choses to associate exclusively with unattractive women for whom every day is a bad hair, pale-and-pimply, trackie-dak day while she is professionally coiffed to kill.
And then there's her accusation -and that's what it is -that women hate beautiful women. We're almost all guilty of being overly aware of appearances, and in comparing ourselves to our perception of others, at least sometimes. When we think it matters, we make extra effort. Some of us are competitive; some are vain, some are envious.
Hatred is a different kind of emotion. It's one we reserve for only the most deserving of foes: the seven-year-old bully who punched you in the stomach every day at the bus-stop when you were five, the scheming little bitch who was sleeping with your first boyfriend while pretending to be your friend, the boss who presented your best work as her own and took the credit for it.
After that, I have trouble thinking of reasons why women hate other women...or men.
We don't waste our strongest emotions on people who don't matter, and we forgive easily. The truth is that far too many women turn their hatred back on themselves. We find reasons to blame ourselves when life lets us down. It's probably not healthy, but it's real.
I doubt Ms Brick's world is real. Has she concocted this sob story for attention? Has her editor dreamed up this craziness to boost website traffic? Or has Ms Brick written her own truth, oblivious to how far it is from ours?
If I could, I'd remind Ms Brick that she is the one most guilty of judging people - including herself - based on her perception of beauty.
"A great social success is a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain." - F. Scott Fitzgerald